The University has appointed Anita Norich as the head of the newly-created Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies.
An arm of the University’s Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, the news institute is designed to bring together 14 visiting scholars of Jewish culture to the University each year.
Norich is an English professor at the University and a scholar of Yiddish literature. She has taught at the University since 1983 and won the Amoco award, an award given for excellence in teaching.
“Norich has deep experience with the university and a broad knowledge of Judaic studies nationally and internationally. She is at the cutting edge (of her field) and has proven herself as an excellent leader,” said Deborah Dash Moore the director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies.
Norich received her doctorate in English Literature from Columbia University and has published a book. She has another in progress.
“The center, and specifically Norich, was a big draw of this university for me,” said Rackham student Sara Feldman. “She crosses disciplines and is accessible.”
The largest-ever gift to the college of LSA – a $20 million donation from the Samuel and Jean Frankel Jewish Heritage Foundation – will fund the institute. Most of that money will go toward hiring faculty to conduct research at the University.
The 14 scholars will work together on a common topic or theme. The institute aims to give these scholars the time and means to devote to Judaic studies.
“We give these scholars a community in which to work,” Norich said. “This is a place where interdisciplinary scholarship can flourish.
The institute is the largest of its kind at any public university in the country, Norich said, adding that it will attract scholars at both the national and international level.
“(The creation of the Frankel Institute) is the biggest thing to happen to Judaic studies anywhere,” said Norich. “This makes the University of Michigan one of the biggest centers for Judaic studies in the world.”
Housed on the third floor of the Frieze Building, it will allow intellectual and physical space for renowned scholars to work. The ceremony for the opening of the institute is scheduled for next week at the Rackham Auditorium.
“Michigan will be the address of advanced Jewish studies in the country,” Norich said.
The Frankel Center offers a full range of chronological and methodical studies for both graduate and undergraduate students. Its faculty encompasses a wide range of fields in the discipline.
The center trains new scholars in contemporary and traditional methodologies and texts, offering a variety of services to students of Jewish culture and literature.